Integration of software solutions and apps – what to consider?
When you invest in new software and new applications for your organization, it’s important that you take potential system integrations into consideration. Many organizations and their employees get access to a growing number of digital tools, which is why you need to be able to see how various tools can work together. This applies to all types of software, but it’s especially applicable for the tools that is used by many users. Most organizations focus on providing the right tools for their employees and if they, at the same time, succeed in efficiently connecting these tools, then the foundation for accelerating productivity gains is laid.
I always use to say: if you want maximal value from your investment in applications, you need to connect them to your other tools and systems where it is relevant.
Company requirements vs. employee requirements
When you consider integration opportunities, you should distinguish between what I call “company requirements” and “employee requirements”.
Company requirements can for example cover integrations where systems work together and exchange data with the purpose to enrich critical customer and supplier data with more depth. It can also be data for accounting purposes that flows seamlessly between an ERP system and other systems, which can relieve manual work in the finance department. Common for these types of integrations is that they typically produce an end-product in the shape of enriched and detailed master data, that the company (and especially the management layer) can utilize to gain increased insight into performance, identify optimization opportunities and so on. In other words, not necessarily something that most of your employees will see as a benefit in their daily work.
On the other hand, we’ve got the employee requirements. This part relates to the tools that can integrate and connect so that the employees will experience tangible advantages in their daily work. And this is where it’s possible to find opportunities to harvest productivity gains, which many probably haven’t thought of yet. Today, businesses buy in on various digital tools to an increased extent. Tools that helps the employees handle various tasks and supports them in various administrative processes. The selection is huge, and it probably won’t be smaller going forward, so it’s worth to think about how different tools can interact, where it makes sense.
Bring Your Own Apps
Like we all know the concept of “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) from the hardware side, I also believe that the concept of “Bring Your Own Apps” (BYOA) will gain ground in the future. The phenomenon isn’t unknown now and especially with the new generations’ entry on the labor market (like generation Z, who’s growing up in an app centric world), we can expect it to come rolling. This will imply new requirements to the way we work, what applications organizations provide their employees with and how applications and tools integrate and work together. Naturally, this also implies that we’ll have to take new risk scenarios around data security and compliance etc. into account.
Do you want access to “best of breed” solutions?
Software vendors have different approaches to integrations. Most vendors have realized that an increased number of businesses want the opportunity to use “best of breed” software on different areas (or simply just want options), but this imply that an existing technology stack offers easy and simple integrations. However, there are still many examples of software vendors, for example within the ERP area, that offers proprietary add-on tools in categories close to the core product. It could also be a credit card provider, that begins to offer software that helps manage transactions. A classic business strategy built around putting more hooks in the customer, with obvious advantages for the vendor. Well, this can also have advantages for the customer, like a consolidated vendor engagement and a tight integrated solution. However, this isn’t the way you end up with “best of breed” solutions in your technology stack. Remember that.
What about the Expense Management category?
At Acubiz we develop a solution that helps organizations to optimize the administrative processes related to employee expenses, outlays, travel reimbursement, mileage tracking and time registration. Put in another way, we operate in the field that’s called “expense management” or “spend management”. If a business buys into the idea obtaining a “best of breed” solution within this category and accomplishes a solid implementation, a significant amount of benefits both for the employees, the finance department and the management will be realized. In other words, the criteria’s that characterizes a “best of breed” solution is met.
As I initially touched upon, we always say: connect Acubiz to other systems and tools in your organization to get the maximal benefit from your investment. Within our category, relevant integrations can for example be credit card providers, banks, ERP and salary systems, parking vendors and apps, petrol and gas companies, telecom operators, payment platforms etc.